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Trichinellosis: what it is, what the symptoms are and how to treat it


Trichinellosis or trichinosis is a disease caused by agents transmitted from animals to humans. Let's find out what the symptoms are.

When we talk about trichinellosis we mean an infection which may or may not be asymptomatic but which is always caused by the ingestion of raw or undercooked meat and which contains larvae belonging, precisely, to the trichinella genus.
It is an infection that occurs mainly in areas of the world where raw meat is eaten and where the animals are not subjected to veterinary checks. However, sometimes it happens to happen in other places too and all because of human errors.

Trichinellosis: what it is and how it manifests itself

As already mentioned, trichinellosis occurs after eating raw meat containing larvae. These have a length of about 1 mm and once ingested they are released in the stomach, reaching the intestine and developing inside it. These continue to grow and reproduce remaining guests of the organism even for years before being noticed.


A situation whose seriousness depends on the number of ingested larvae and the course given by their presence. Since it is a problem linked precisely to contaminated meat, it is almost always an epidemic problem and almost never a single one.

Going to the actual disease, this initially has a course very similar to that of a simple flu. Its presence usually begins to be suspected when there are two or more of the following symptoms:

– Fever
Muscle pains
– Facial edema
– Hemorrhages in the eyes
– Eosinophilia
– Gastrointestinal problems

These symptoms mostly appear 1 or two days after eating raw or undercooked meat (even very small quantities are valid). Within two or three weeks they can worsen leading to some of the symptoms listed above.
We therefore pass from fever with vomiting and diarrhea and abdominal pain to muscle pain with bleeding, itching, tiredness and conjunctivitis.

If a critical stage is reached, this is usually characterized by depression, ataxia, convulsions, shortness of breath and even very serious problems such as myocarditis, pneumonia, pulmonary embolism or encephalitis. Thankfully, the latter possibility is very rare. Indeed, it is important to remember that trichinellosis is often completely asymptomatic and resolves itself without complications.

If this is not the case, obviously, it is important to urgently seek the help of a doctor in order not to aggravate the pathology.

Trichinellosis: diagnosis and treatment

The first rule for this and other diseases is to alert the doctor from the very first symptoms. What to do even more urgently if you have recently eaten raw meat.
After the history, the doctor may arrange other tests such as an antibody test , muscle biopsy and various immunological tests.

Once the presence of trichinella has been ascertained it is very important to switch to the treatment which changes according to the extent of the symptoms. Generally the most common is to take an anthelmintic (vermicide drug) to be associated with an anti-inflammatory.
By doing so you will be able to eradicate the worms and prevent the disease from getting worse.

Basic rules for preventing trichinellosis

Obviously, in addition to treatment, prevention can also be useful to avoid getting sick.
It is therefore a good rule to avoid eating raw or undercooked meat .
Tools such as cutting boards, knives and everything used to work meat must always be washed carefully and the same goes for hands which should be washed thoroughly with soap and water every time you come into contact with raw meat.

It is also important to remember that both smoked and dried or microwaved meat are considered at risk. It is therefore very important to always do the best in order to preserve your health.

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